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Brexit should take place in October without further delay, UK Brexit Secretary says

Christian Fernsby |
UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said on Monday that the country should leave the European Union on Oct. 31 without any further delay, stressing that both sides should work for a Brexit with a deal.

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"It is important that the UK leaves (EU) on October 31, and that will be in the interests of the UK and EU," Barclay said at a briefing with foreign reporters at the Foreign Press Association headquarters in London.

Then there will be the certainty that businesses need, who can get investment under way and the UK can move forward onto the positive future relationship based on shared values with the EU rather than focusing on unwinding the past relationship, he said.

"We don't want a no-deal outcome but it is important we prepare for it," he said, stressing that "it is not only Theresa May's priority but also the priority of (UK prime minister candidates) Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to secure a deal."

He rejected the idea of a second referendum on Brexit, saying it sometimes is misunderstood. "The danger of a second referendum is you have a further year of uncertainty and it would be divisive but would not necessarily decisive," Barclay said.

The UK's departure from the EU has been postponed from the original March 29, 2019 deadline to Oct. 31, more than three years after the British people voted in a referendum to leave the bloc.

Having failed to deliver a Brexit deal through the UK Parliament to bring Britain out of the EU, Theresa May resigned as Conservative Party leader on June 7, but will remain as caretaker prime minister until her successor is chosen.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are vying for the Conservative Party leadership. The winner will automatically move into 10 Downing Street as prime minister.

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